Sunday, April 26, 2009


On Thursday, my scouts and my kids and I got to go to a friend's house and check out their new baby Emu chicks. Apparently, they bought 2 females and a male (hens and a rooster??) about a year and a half ago and they haven't laid a single egg. Now, all of a sudden, they have 8 chicks and 3 more in the nest. (It seems something's in the water around here lately.) And, although they aren't quite as heartachingly adorable as the miniature horse baby - I know, I'm horse prejudice - they were still pretty stinkin' darn cute:

(And hello again to my new D90!)

I especially liked their stri-ped bodies and the funky little zig-zag pattern all over their heads. They had these strange dinosaur black-skinned, backward-bending legs that were pretty interesting as well. The boys all got to pet them, and I held one for a while. I'm such a sucker for baby animals, it's pathetic.

(Can you tell it was camo day at school?) I guess baby Emu fit right in, his stripes are his camo.

But here's the amazing/fascinating/riveting thing about Emus that I never knew. (Actually pretty much anything there is to know about Emus is something I never knew, but anyhoo....) The great thing about Emus is that Daddy Emu (drake, gander??) does all the work. In fact, he is so dedicated to sitting on the nest that he doesn't eat or drink, except for dew, the entire 2 month incubation period! He only gets up once a day to turn the eggs - apparently turning is imperative to egg health - and then he's back down on that nest again. Now that's dedication! He lives on stored fat and looses about 1/3 of his body weight during this time.

Here he is:

Kinda handsome, don't you think? Or maybe I find him attractive because of his excellent parenting skills - you know, there's something pretty appealing about a good dad.

And even after the chicks hatch, his work isn't done, he stays with the chicks for up to 18 months. And by that time, they are fully grown. Don't you think that's just too cool?!

Daddy growled at us whenever we came near the nest, but as long as you stay out of beak reach, he just stays put and doesn't attack you - even if you get under his tail end and rob an egg from him.

Perhaps a wild Emu would be a little more protective, I don't know, but it seems that brooding instinct in Daddy is pretty dang strong. You think he'd be like a sitting duck to predators, now wouldn't ya. Wow, I just realized where that expression came from!

Okay, so I just Googled it, and apparently male Emu's are just called "males". How boring. I think we should start a petition and come up with a name for him befitting his mad fathering skillz.

Except I can't think of one.


Any ideas?